Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (Review) Xbox One

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (Review) Xbox One
Review Score:

2022 has been quite the year of surprises, of both the pleasant and unpleasant variety. In my particular case however, folks might say that I was – pardon the god-awful pun here – shell-shocked. I’m still reeling from things, and most likely will be for quite some time, but rest assured that I will be okay. As much I would love to delve into details, that would be a whole different kind of review on a beyond epic scale…..

But speaking of surprises, reviews, and things having been rather…erm…shell-acious for me, I’d like to now discuss on a far more positive note, of four particular reptilian shell-backed (I wasn’t trying to be funny there, honest!!) adolescents.

You folks know them better as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

In a time where CGI life-like realism is now the thing, who would’ve thought that there would be a game that shows its pixelated arcade roots from decades past, but with a very polished look in its own right? Enter TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge by Dotemu (of Streets Of Rage 4 fame, among others) and Tribute Games.

TMNT: SR brings that vintage TMNT vibe that’s a very nice, directly inspired nod to the awesome TV show and arcade game of the 1980’s. The concept here is also essentially the same as it was back then – to slash and bash your way through beautiful pixel art environments, while slaying enemies by the tons with your favorite Turtle, each with his own set of moves and skills; aaaaand combos!

The story in TMNT: SR is what you would expect of the Turtleverse. The fearsome foursome – better known as Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael – have sat down to chow down on some pizza with Master Splinter and April, to watch the Channel 6 news. Everything seems quiet and relaxed, until Beebop and Rocksteady hijack the news with some help. And then from there, they go on to threaten the Statue of Liberty and New York City itself; in which of course, our half-shelled heroes ditch supper to go save the world.

If you’ve ever played Turtles In Time, then you’ll know what you’re signing up for with TMNT: SR. It’s very true to the original 1991 classic, and even includes introductory animations and voice overs for each stage; complete with characters introducing them by name. There are, however, some noticeable changes to the gameplay. For example, there are now three special pizzas to collect. One replenishes your health (per usual), another starts a special spin attack that can rack up some serious damage in a short timeframe, and the other one gives you more Turtle Power. This nifty feature (which allows you to pull off special attacks and generally one-hit kill enemies) is displayed as a meter with numbers beside it, that show many meters you’ve banked. And if you happen to bank a few, it can allow you to engage a special ability that adds a pulsing shadow to your character and seems to increase their base skills.

There are some notable differences between the two aforementioned games though. For one, there’s the inclusion of experience points, challenges, collectibles and character-locked upgrades and associated perks. Plus, there’s the six player online multiplayer, which definitely wasn’t a thing back then, but is very much welcomed now!

Most of the gameplay involves using light and heavy attacks to beat your enemies to a pulp with deadly combos. I mean, sure you can charge up your attacks, but you have to keep in mind that enemies can break them with one hit. Another thing to make mental note of, is to make sure to use your surroundings to your advantage. Hitting the fire hydrants and pylons can still cause helpful damage to enemies, and collectibles (such as VHS tapes, diary pages, etc.) can be found inside breakable objects and moving doors. These items are requested by NPC’s who you’ll either save or meet along the way, but they don’t really change the gameplay much at all. If anything, just consider them as being extra content, just like the challenges for each stage – which generally task you with things like not taking damage or not using special attacks.

While we’re on the subject of surroundings, it’s worth mentioning that there’s plenty of variety in TMNT: SR. As you make your progress through a Super Mario Bros.-ish overworld map of NYC, you’ll travel to numerous different locales. The fun begins at Channel 6 HQ, and then you’ll move on to other places like the zoo, the sewers, Coney Island; and even the skies above. Yes, you get to clash with the Foot Clan while riding a rocket powered surfboard, to some pretty sweet heavy mental background music. If that isn’t badass, then I don’t know what is!

On a difficulty scale, the game isn’t easy, but it’s also not brutally hard or unfair. There are moments when everything is seemingly coming at you all at once. But just as in TMNT predecessors, you can recognize your enemies’ attacks, going by the colors of the Foot Soldiers’ uniforms or shapes of the robots.

And should you grow weary of Story Mode, there’s also an Arcade Mode that will certainly test your mettle. It features the same stages as Story Mode does, but it also imposes limitations on lives and won’t allow you to return to previously completed stages, collect hidden collectibles or level up your character (as they’re already maxed out). The goal here is just like the good ol’ days – complete the game without dying.

All in all, there’s plenty to love about TMNT: SR. I can’t emphasize enough about it being beautifully retro! The whole package truly makes it feel like going back in time to a simpler era of arcade gaming nostalgia galore.

During my time spent playing through this game on both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S, I never had an issue with bugs or crashes, or anything of the like. Everything ran perfectly, and it was a smoothly beautiful experience filled with tons and tons of nostalgia.

If you’re looking for a great game to spend your summer with, look no further than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. Dotemu and Tribute Game have knocked one out of the park with this return to the days of 80’s and 90’s beat ‘em-ups, and have done so in spectacular fashion. Thus, this title will surely be in the running for Game of the Year.

Shawnaya Boley
Platform: Xbox One
Publisher: Dotemu
Developer: Tribute Games
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Price: $24.99

Review Score
Very wonderfully pixelated!!
It's what I expected from a retro-inspired game. The background heavy metal tunes were nice too!
Very solid from the TMNT games that I remember.
This title is a definite favorite of mine; many thanks to Dotemu for taking me back!
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